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AI call for wider Kentucky jail investigation


USA: Amnesty International calls for investigation into Kentucky jail to be widened

* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International *

8 July 2002 AMR 51/112/2002

Following reports of further allegations of abuse at Boyd County Detention Center, Amnesty International today urged the federal and state authorities to widen their investigation into the death of Chad Boggess to include an examination of whether there is a culture and pattern of abuse at the jail.

Amnesty International is calling for a specific examination of reports that some inmate witnesses to the attack on Boggess suffered retaliation or were threatened by guards. The allegations include one inmate with serious health problems having his medication delayed after making a statement about the attack; another inmate who heard the attack from a nearby cell, reported being threatened by a guard not to speak about the incident and was later placed in isolation.

Amnesty International is seeking assurances that all protective measures will be taken to ensure that those inmates who witnessed the beating of Chad Boggess will not be subjected to retaliation by guards.

Other allegations received by the organization include several prior incidents of abuse, including excessive use of force and pepper spray.

In its letters to the authorities, Amnesty International said that while it was not in a position to confirm the above allegations, the reports indicate that there may be a pattern or culture of abuse and inappropriate use of the force at the Boyd County Detention Center.

Amnesty International is asking to be informed of the outcome of any investigation carried out into the allegations reported.

The organization has also renewed its call on the authorities to conduct a full review of the jail's use of force and restraint policies in light of the coroner's finding that Chad Boggess died of asphyxiation due to the way in which he was restrained. The coroner also found that "blunt force" injuries to his head had contributed to his death, which he ruled a homicide last May.

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